Audrey Fairbrother Works Remotely
Fulltime Remote Worker Employee
How and why did you start working remotely?
My husband is in the military. I knew if I wanted a sustainable career, I needed to be location independent.
What advice would you give someone considering a remote job?
Don’t think twice. Act now. You won’t regret it. I look back at all the time I wasted in inflexible 9 to 5’s and it makes me cringe.
How did you convince your company to let you work remotely?
Our company, Worldwide101, is 100% remote. It’s amazing. We already know happy employees make productive employees!
What are the biggest benefits to working remotely?
Definitely the flexibility. Besides just moving every few years, I also enjoy being able to work from anywhere because it gives me the ability to visit family more often, and travel whenever I wish, which is my biggest passion.
What are the greatest challenges to working remotely?
You do miss out on the camaraderie piece, but there are still ways to feel connected to your coworkers virtually. We have a great “water cooler” chat on Slack to just partake in fun conversations and share silly updates—it’s really fun and brings us all closer together as a team. But I do have friends who might find it lonely – so we always say it’s not for everyone and perhaps not for those who love to hang out physically or who like to have lunch with colleagues!
Do you keep a regular remote work schedule? What is it?
Somewhat. I normally work from about 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. just out of habit. But I do have the flexibility to change that around depending on what’s happening in my day.
How do you avoid becoming distracted when working remotely?
I honestly think it’s easy when you enjoy what you’re doing. I actually look forward to logging on. Putting on a pair of good headphones and some classical music on Pandora helps me stay in the zone when working on big projects.
What is a remote work pain point, and how do you address it?
Communicating to family and visitors that you actually are doing work, and you need a quiet space without interruptions. My husband is great about this, but when I visit family or we have visitors I have to make sure I set their expectations about when I’m working. I tell them “Hey, when my office door is closed, I’m working. Pretend I’m at the office and I’m not here, I’m unavailable.” They are usually very respectful once I lay it out.
Do you use coworking spaces? What are the best ones?
Yes! I actually just use my neighborhood clubhouse which has an amazing coworking space, complete with conference rooms to rent, printers, etc. It’s so great, and it’s just a two-minute walk from our home. Can’t beat it!
What gear can't you work remotely without?
- Wireless mouse
- Good headphones
- Leak-proof coffee travel mug
What apps or websites can't you work remotely without?
- Google Drive
Do you work from a home office? How is it organized?
Here it is! Simple and clean—helps me concentrate when there’s no clutter around.
How do you stay in touch with virtual teammates?
We Slack pretty much all day long with questions and updates. I honestly feel we communicate more and more quickly than I did in an office setting.
Do you have tips for saving money while working remotely?
Working remotely in and of itself saves a lot of money. I spend so much less on lunches out, gas, clothes for work, car maintenance, etc. Try to avoid eating out during lunch as much as you can—it really adds up.
What’s the hardest part about working with a traditional team while you’re remote?
Personally I think the hardest part is getting comfortable enough with people to be completely honest with them. But once you get to know their personality and quirks a bit more, it’s easier to have positive, productive disagreements.
What’s the best way to find a remote job?
Our company really loves FlexJobs.com—that’s where we find our best people! I’d also recommend that if you like your current job, you first campaign is to get more flexibility where you are. I recently wrote a blog piece on that for 1 Million for Work Flexibility. There’s a huge remote work movement happening. Take advantage of the publicity it’s getting and approach your management about making the switch!
What does your remote company do?
We support demanding founders and executives with experienced premium virtual assistants for the long term.
Would you consider returning to a traditional office job, or are you remote for life?
Absolutely remote for life. Without the hassles of a commute and an inflexible schedule, my life has never felt more balanced. I have time for work, time for my family, and time for my hobbies. I’m a HUGE advocate for the remote work revolution. I feel everyone should have the privilege of experiencing this freedom.
How has working remotely impacted your career plans?
It kind of changed my trajectory. I previously worked in the music industry, and while I loved it, it was a 24/7 commitment. Once I started a family, I found I valued flexibility over all else. And I think from this point on, I always will.
How do you stay connected with your local community?
I do some freelance writing for a local magazine and I try to get out and attend as many community events as possible—another great thing about being remote: I have the time to!
How has your remote job impacted your life outside of work?
So many positive ways: I have time to make important appointments. I can drop off and pick up my daughter from daycare and still actually have time in the evenings to hang out with her. I can help my husband with things he needs to take care of. I can arrange work around my life, and not the other way around, and that feels amazing.
How do you manage work life integration?
After you’ve signed off for the day, truly SIGN OFF. It’s so easy to hop back online when your home is your office, but resist that urge. Treat your schedule as concrete as possible.
How do you stay physically active while working remotely?
I take a break every day, Monday through Friday, to get some exercise—usually in the middle of the day. It not only helps me stay healthy, but it helps me refocus. I also ride my bike to cafes on days when I don’t have many meetings. Sitting all day can be difficult; you have to make time for some physical activity. If you can’t get away in the middle of the day, use the time you’d normally be commuting!
How does working remotely impact your diet?
I actually feel I eat healthier. I have time to make a decent breakfast in the morning, and I eat at home more for lunch, which is usually much healthier than eating out.
How do you cope with feeling lonely while working remotely?
We actually just implemented a team meeting on Fridays that’s simply a social hour. We will talk about how our week went in general, and just how life is going. We have a small team, so it works. I’m looking forward to seeing how those go!
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